Border Police clash with Yitzhar residents over Arab workers entering settlement

Masked men attack IDF vehicle after military violates settlement's Jewish labor only policy by using Israeli-Arabs to pave road.

August 29, 2013 03:09
2 minute read.
Border Police in Yitzhar [file]

Border Police in Yitzhar 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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An IDF officer’s car was vandalized after Border Police and Yitzhar residents clashed Wednesday over Israeli-Arab workers entering the West Bank settlement.

Three Yitzhar minors were arrested in the incident – two for violating a restraining order and one for causing a disturbance.

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A security source said he viewed the violence against the military vehicle very seriously.

“The IDF defends the settlement out of a sense of mission and love,” he added.

The source observed that the IDF usually has no problem with Yitzhar residents.

Yitzhar spokesman Avraham Binyamin said the attack on the military vehicle was an isolated incident by a teenager who was upset by the actions of the security officers.

Yitzhar has a policy of allowing Jewish labor only, Binyamin explained; thus its residents were angry to learn Wednesday morning that the IDF had contracted a company, which planned to use Israeli-Arab workers to repave a road leading to the the IDF Base Hativa Shomron, located on the community’s edge.

Women and children came to block the path of a dump truck with Israeli Arabs carrying sand, which arrived in Yitzhar at around 11:30 a.m., according to Binyamin.

He said that Yitzhar residents asked the IDF to replace the Israeli-Arab workers with Jewish labor, but it refused.

Initially, he continued, the IDF sent 70 Border Police in 15 vehicles to secure the truck and allow it to pass.

A security source said that the demonstration began peacefully but turned violent.

According to a police spokesman, masked men threw rocks and blocked the truck’s path.

Police – including its special Yassam unit and Border Police – were called to the scene and were met by a violent protest of a few dozen people, Border Police said, adding that they eventually managed to clear the Yitzhar demonstrators; however, rioters broke the back windshield of a car belonging to an IDF Engineering Corps officer.

An IDF source added that settlers had also slashed the vehicle’s tires.

No rioters, police or workers were injured.

Binyamin accused the IDF of deliberately provoking the community, given that its policy of employing Jewish workers only within its boundaries was well known.

He also accused police of responding with violence to the passive resistance of women and children.

In the end, the IDF recalled the Arab workers and brought in Jewish ones to work on the road, but only as a result of violence, Binyamin concluded.

Had the IDF made such a choice to start with, the entire incident could have been avoided, he said.

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